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Black Intellectual Thought in Modern AmericaA Historical Perspective$
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Brian D. Behnken, Gregory D. Smithers, and Simon Wendt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813657

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813657.001.0001

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Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History

Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History

(p.206) Chapter Seven Afrocentric Intellectuals and the Burden of History
Black Intellectual Thought in Modern America

Tunde Adeleke

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter offers an intellectual history of a concept that has divided African American intellectuals as much as it has brought them together: Afrocentrism. It is a way of narrating the past that is at once an example of myth-making and historical narration, while also a source of racial identification for some. Long before the appearance of a professional class of black intellectuals, the challenges of historical racism compelled some blacks to seek historical knowledge. The chapter comments on the divisive and often critical reception that Afrocentrist scholars have experienced, especially in regards to the bifurcation in the field between advocacy and scholarship. Moreover, it illuminates fundamental flaws in Afrocentric historiography in relation to engaging the conflict over heritage, culture, and history.

Keywords:   Afrocentrism, African Americans, black intellectuals, racial identification, historical racism, advocacy, scholarship, historiography

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